Slice of Life Challenge day 16 #sol17

Doesn’t everyone deserve common decency?

Title: “Decency”

“Mr. Ball?” The voice had a curt, official crispness to it.  Definitely someone I didn’t know.

“Yes, this is he,” I responded.  Talking on a cordless phone attached to a landline suddenly made me feel 20 years younger.  Well, except the “Mr. Ball” part.

“The lab results are back and I wanted to let you know your daughter has tested positive for strep throat,” came the curt voice.

“What about my other daughter?” I asked.

“Um…yes, her too.”

This presented a tricky situation.  Outside, the blizzard continued to rage, precipitating a statewide travel ban for all of Connecticut.  That meant no one was allowed to drive.  How would I pick up the girls’ prescriptions?  Glancing out my window I could see the black and white snowy form that was my Honda.  There was no sight of my driveway.  Hmm…I’d better consult with my wife, I thought. Standing up, I padded toward the living room.

“The police are issuing $100 tickets to anyone driving on the road right now,” she informed me, speaking over the top of her iPhone.  “So, maybe we ought to call them to see what they think we should do?”  Brilliant suggestion, I thought.  I imagined the police responding with something like, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your daughters, sir.  Yes, there is a travel ban in effect, however I am sure an exception would be made in these circumstances.”  Or maybe they might have another suggestion for me!  The few dealings with the police in my town we had had so far were quite pleasant.  Grabbing my iPhone, I quickly Googled the phone number of our local department, not at all expecting what was about to occur.

Reaching what I assumed was a dispatcher, I politely explained my situation.  My girls needed their antibiotics.  Did she have any advisement for me?  “I can’t help you,” she snapped.  “I can’t make that decision for you. Is this an emergency?” she churlishly chiped.  Well, no, it’s strep throat I explained. And it’s not like I had called 911, for crying out loud. “Just hold on,” came the woman’s voice. Silence on the line. Somewhat stunned by the abrupt and rude demeanor of the woman, I waited.

In a moment, a male voice came on the line. After briefly explaining my situation, I was told, “It’s up to you.  Have a good day.”  And he hung up. He hung up?

I quietly laid the phone on my lap, staring straight ahead. Not what I expected.  At all. I suppose expectations have their way of playing a role in all upsets.  I had clearly expected a different flow to this conversation, and now I was a trifle upset.  But was I unreasonable to expect at least some decency from the other end of this call? Doesn’t everyone at least deserve that?


Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life Challenge day 16 #sol17”

  1. Doesn’t sound like the blizzard brought out the best in the local police force. I hope ou got the meds yesterday–sure you did. Lanny–you do an amazing job of capturing conversation and weaving the right amount of action and thinking into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I felt frustrated for you after reading the post! I was hoping for a more Andy Griffith/ Mayberry police-type reply. Glad you were able to get the antibiotics, hope there wasn’t a ticket involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tone is everything is situations like this. I realize they couldn’t tell you what to do, but they could have been more sympathetic, used a softer tone, even laughed. I am glad to see you finally got the antibiotics and the girls are taking them. I hope the girls feel better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So hard when you want to be a “Rule Follower” but so unhelpful to not even have a “sympathetic response” when you ask a reasonable question while terribly concerned about the health of your children. I so understand! Difficult decisions! And yes, a little decency would have been nice and was definitely expected!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sad you were treated like that. Especially when you were so worried about your kids. I can imagine what a conundrum that is–you really want to help your kids as soon as possible, but the LAW tells you that you have to stay put. Glad you were able to finally get those meds.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The sad part of that is that they just did the minimum amount of interaction with you. With society the way it is, you could sue them if they said “Sure, go out in the storm,” and then you had an accident. YOU wouldn’t, but they don’t know that. And I think sometimes then authorities just translate that to being indifferent sounding. You have to make the decision yourself. In fact, waiting a day for antibiotics is not a big deal. And sometimes the weather isn’t as big a deal as they make it out to be! It would just be nice to have someone sound like they care – either way!

    Liked by 1 person

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